Kitchen Renovation

The sunlight shimmers through the Lemon Verbena Lady’s gorgeous herbal jellies. An unexpected gift we received this week.

BEFORE-Not our style, though the tile is great. The old plastic cupboards were falling apart. I don’t want to see microwaves, etc. out in the open. I love open shelves, not closed shelving.

AFTER-Open shelving, an overhead vent (instead of through the floor), antique lighting, old sink, and our beloved stove, Abigail, named for my plump Grandmother Lovejoy.

BEFORE-A small sink complete with a garbage disposal, which we NEVER use. We believe that kitchen garbage is worth its weight in gold. It all goes into a bucket under our sink and is dumped into the worm bin daily. We donated all the cupboards to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, all the tiles were set into the stonework of our new outdoor dining room. No waste!

Nope, no garbage disposal.

The worm bucket.

The old kitchen had very little storage. With slide out drawers and the use of a lazy susan, we were able to double the capacity.

BEFORE-A wall that took more turns than a country road. An oven installed next to the refrigerator, which was, perhaps, the noisiest fridge in the world. It conked out on us. To the left is the laundry area and far left, the one and only pantry.

AFTER-Slide out shelving in the pantry.

AFTER-I actually have a place to store things. I really only keep what I use; other things that aren’t often used were donated to Hospice.

AFTER-ugh, I can’t stand to see appliances. These cupboards are all fitted with electric plugs so everything can be plugged in and used in place.

AFTER-What was once a crooked wall is now all the same depth, the cupboards are simple, and there is room at the top of the cupboards (thank you, Jeff) for some of my big wooden bowls. Did I want a stainless steel refrigerator. NO WAY, but this Liebherr is the greenest one imaginable. Even the way they are manufactured is considered the greenest in the industry. Very low watt usage. Good food storage, but I wish I had an old one, or maybe the Northstar that looks old.

AFTER-I now have two drawers for storing my Grandmother’s iron skillets, dutch ovens, and cornbread molds.

BEFORE-Storage in the protruding wall, a dropped ceiling with can lights.

AFTER-Protruding storage removed, bookcases installed (great windowsills for plants here), and floor patched and repaired. Antique cupboard for kitchen linens, and just because I love it.

BEFORE-Floor vented cook top, tile counters, no storage under stove because of vents.

AFTER-Make way for Abigail! Maple countertops with breadboard ends, and I love the little cutting board niche that Jeff designed.

AFTER-Two Fisher-Paykel dishwashers are under the sink apron. One on each side. The light above the sink is from Maine.

AFTER-Almost finished. I love the repaired and refinished wooden floors, the warm and welcoming work-family table in the center, and my old miner’s coat rack from Pennsylvania, which holds my copper pots and pans.

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10 Laundry Room Inspirations

Last week our washer decided it was done. The front load set was purchased seven years ago, which I guess for appliances made now-a-days is pretty average – though I was hoping it would last at least a few more years. The entire washer tub actually cracked, which though fixable would cost a pretty penny to repair {ourselves} – so a new set in our very near future. Though we will not be purchasing the same brand, I am thinking it would be pretty cool to keep the dryer we have and have two to help assist with the never-ending laundry situation.

Checking out the options available today, I am completely overwhelmed with all the choices.

I would love to hear any suggestions or recommendations you may have!

Since things will have to be pulled out and moved around anyway, I am thinking it would be the best time for a complete room makeover. So for my Tuesday {ten} this week I thought I would begin my search for a new washer and dryer by sharing some laundry room inspiration.

{one} Though I generally tend to shy away from bold appliance colors, I am loving the contrast of the red set with the grey cabinetry in this laundry room from HGTV’s Green Home.

{two} This is such a gorgeous space but who would expect anything less from Martha Stewart herself- I could definitely get some laundry done in a room like this. Love the extra dryer and the fact that they did not use any risers as it gives you a lot more space between the top of the appliances and the cabinets – not to mention the nice counter space it provides. We have the pedestals on our current set and there is only a little over a foot of space to work with plus the set is too high to actually make any use out of the tops of the appliances.

{three} Again, not quite sure where I got the notion that I had to purchase the separate pedestals – his built in countertop from Precision Stoneworks utilizes the space so much more and I adore the added banister spindles.

{four} This built in counter from Home Decoration Magazine is another great use of space with the open side shelving.

{five} Even though we are fortunate enough to have a dedicated laundry room upstairs in our home, this great idea from Martha Stewart conceals the appliances away using painted recycled pine boards and a piece of laminate countertop – perfect for a multi-use space.

{six} Great built in cabinetry in this laundry room from Custom Cabinets Direct, though I am not sure I would like the washer and dryer that far apart – I usually like tossing my clothes from one to the other standing in one stationary position. The additional table/counter space is amazing {love those chunky spindles} and the green is something different.

{seven} The beadboard, open shelving and checkered floor in this House and Home laundry room creates a nice crisp clean look.

{eight} Though I also like the classy black and white used in this House & Home Showhouse Laundry Room too!

{nine} This space from the Martha Stewart Living Cabinet line at Home Depot is so serene. I like the uniform look of the walls and the cabinetry being the same color.

{ten} and finally I just love the open wire shelving, painted molding and stenciled wall in this laundry room designed by Sarah Richardson.

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The Show House

Happy May and, well, Happy Opening Day of Homearama! Yep, our showhouse is officially open to the public as of today, along with the six others in the show. Deepbreathsdeepbreaths.

Since we last showed you the office, butler’s pantry, and master suite (along with the master bathroom & closet) and then took a pause to have a baby, let’s pick back up in the main living spaces of the house: the living room & the kitchen – which you can see from the floor plan below are both pretty big zones on the first floor.

The walls in both the living room and the kitchen are Simply White, and then we layered in some colorful paint/textiles/art/accessories (like a navy fireplace column, a kitchen island in the same color, a breakfast nook full of colorful accessories, some bold art in both spaces, and a colorful rug and pillows, etc).

We had always wanted the fireplace to be the focal point of the living room, so we went with Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore to anchor that wall. And our awesome friend Lesli Devito painted a big portrait of Burger to bring a little cheekiness to the space (the TV will most likely hang there when the real family moves in, we just couldn’t resist an ode to Burger for fun during the show).

The coffee table and 9 x 12′ rug are both from West Elm, and that colorful basket is a HomeGoods find. The gray sofa, chair, and ottoman are from Green Front Furniture – it’s this model in the “smoke” color.

We selected the white wood mantle and marble surround/hearth through a local company and yes, the fact that the gas fireplace turns on with the flick of a switch on the side of the fireplace makes us crazy jealous. Updating our own fireplace may have climbed up our priority list after seeing how nice that is…

Here’s the view looking from the french doors that lead out to the back porch. In retrospect, we wish we placed the fixture box for that glass pendant light so it would be centered over the coffee table, but we chose electrical placements three months before furniture so it ended up a bit closer to the fireplace than we’d like (thankfully that’s a pretty simple thing to remedy after the show). This entire exercise has been one giant learning experience for us, and it’s amazing how many minute decisions (it feels like there were at least 1,000 of them) add up to one finished home.

Back in the corner you can see this console, which was a HomeGoods score – as were the lamps – and the baskets on the bottom are from Target. The large scale art is on loan from Lindsay Cowles (it’s for sale, btw!), and the bench under the window is also from Green Front. The blue pouf is ours (bought on Joss & Main a while back and stolen from our own house in the name of filling up this one for the show). We took these photos before all of the white plantation shutters got installed throughout the house, which really finish off each room.

The side table was a last minute buy from World Market and the gold-based lamp was a project from our book (once again stolen from our house in those final make-it-work hours). That red planter for the fiddle leaf fig is from Lowes.

The living room light fixture was one of the last pieces we selected, since we were having trouble finding something that didn’t compete with the gold accordion lights in the adjoined kitchen (filling up this house in a matter of weeks made it nerve-wracking whenever we couldn’t find something and the clock was ticking down). It wasn’t until we saw the Clear Glass Chandelier hung up in the master bathroom that we realized another one would look great down here, but instead of using silver hardware like the one in the bathroom, our friends a the Decorating Outlet were able to modify one to include gold hardware so it tied into the kitchen pendants.

Let’s move into the kitchen, some of which you’ve seen before (in this post) but I’ll call things out again, just so the sources are all in one place. The cabinets are from a local shop called Affinity. Most are in a stock gray color they offer (which is similar to Benjamin Moore’s Gray Timber Wolf) and the island is painted Hale Navy like the fireplace column on the other side of the room.

Two questions that came up a few times when we last shared the kitchen were:

1. Why is the quarter round around the island wood toned instead of painted? That’s just a standard thing the builder does with oak floors since it tends to hide dust and scuffs more (we think it’s regional since all of our houses in Richmond have also had wood quarter round) but he’s happy to paint it if a buyer prefers that look.

2. Why don’t the cabinets go to the ceiling? Some other homes in the show with 9′ kitchens have ceiling-height cabinets, but our first floor has 10′ ceilings, and cabinets that go all the way up to that height are pretty unusual (the builder said most of his buyers don’t want to pay the upcharge to gain such tall cabinetry – although his carpentry team is happy to build some sweet upper storage to bridge the gap if a certain buyer is interested in that upgrade).

One other funny thing we heard a few times when we met people at a little pre-show party at the house to honor the builder was “oh my gosh on your blog this kitchen looked about half the size – it’s huge!” – so while I had our tripod set up I threw my body atop the counter as a reference point (you know, as any normal person would). The island is over 11ft long, so my six foot frame has plenty of room to sprawl out. Just in case you and a few friends want to take a nap up there.

The stools are from West Elm, the gold accordion lights are from Shades of Light, the Wolf/Sub-Zero appliances are through a local company called Cline, and the cabinet pulls are from Liberty Hardware.

The counters are a White Moura marble that’s leathered (so it’s not a glossy, smooth finish) that we got through a local place called Eternal Stoneworks. To keep the glass cabinets from looking too busy, we just filled them with some white dishware from Target and HomeGoods.

One thing we never really got into with you guys was how we worked with Affinity to design the cabinet layout. We knew deep drawer-bases seem to be more coveted than cabinets with deep shelves since they pull out for easier access, and the experts at Affinity also suggested ways to take advantage of narrow spaces – like a roll-out spice rack and a vertical cookie-sheet organizer.

But perhaps my favorite storage areas in this whole kitchen are the big 30″ x 18″ cabinets on either end of the island. We used them a lot for stashing things out of the cleaning crew’s way and they were awesome. The island also houses the dishwasher, a roll-out double trash can cabinet, and tons of other storage spaces.

For the sink and faucet, we wanted something clean and functional. We went with this classic looking faucet and the deepest single sink the stone company offered. It’s 30″ wide and 10″ deep, which means it’s deep enough to hide a few canisters of donuts… you know, like if that’s the only thing handy you have on hand to show the scale.

The backsplash brings some nice polish to the space, it’s called white blend waterfall glass tile from a local company called Mosaic. The aqua pan was from World Market and the oil cans and cake stand were from HomeGoods.

Looking to the left of the kitchen is the breakfast nook, which we turned into a built-in banquette. You can also see the frosted double-doors that house the walk-in pantry, which we’ll get to in a minute.

We wanted to do something a bit bolder than your average table-and-chairs for the breakfast nook, so we worked with the builder’s carpenter (also named John) to construct floor-to-ceiling bookcases on either side and include a wraparound bench. The nice thing about the shelves is that when you stand on the banquette you can easily access everything (even that top shelf) so unlike ceiling-height kitchen cabinets (which would necessitate some sort of ladder), these are pretty easy to clean/reach by comparison.

In addition to being a cozy space for family to gather, we pictured it almost being a casual spin on a china cabinet in a way. Instead of housing all of your fine china behind glass, you could display your everyday kitchenware, cookbooks, and framed art/photos in a less fussy setting.

The backs are painted Timber Wolf Gray to mimic the gray on the nearby cabinets. A big thanks to my sister (who works at Random House) and our publisher at Artisan who were able to provide some pretty cookbooks for us to use. Oh, and after we took these photos we had the show’s resident seamstress make some cushions for the bench. They’re deep gray like the backs of the stools at the island, so they tie in nicely.

The light fixture is the Large Simple Dome from Shades of Light, and we thought it referenced all the stainless steel and silver finishes in the kitchen (like the appliances, cabinet hardware, faucet, sink, etc) without going too crazy with gold everywhere. Our take on mixing metals is that as long as each finish occurs a few times throughout the space, it looks intentional and layered – so one fixture or finish isn’t the odd man out.

We considered setting the table more formally to emphasize how many people can fit around it, but opted instead for a more casual spread. The beverage container is from HomeGoods, the ceramic basket is from Target, and the napkins are from World Market along with the lemon squeezer.

The table itself was a custom build by John the Carpenter. It’s 5′ deep by 6′ wide, so it’s definitely not a size you can find in stock in most places – but we needed it to fit the nook exactly. We were initially going to get one built by a local timber company, but after two trips out there and a flurry of emails it turned out to be out of our budget. But we love how this one turned out, especially the stain color (we used the same tone as the hardwood floors – Jacobean) and the glossy bar coat on the top.

And here’s the pantry. The shelving was built by John the Builder’s carpentry team and they made sure the frosted french doors we selected didn’t interfere with any of the storage or block the hallway flow (by choosing short double doors instead of one large door, and having them open into a recessed area before the pantry shelving begins, they don’t block anything that could be stored in the pantry or block the hallway flow from the mudroom). The glass prism flushmount light is from Shades of Light, and it’s also in the nearby hallway and mudroom.

We realized that it was hard to tell scale from the photo above, so we snapped another picture with me for reference. It’s definitely on the generously sized side of things.

We chose not to “style” the pantry and took your suggestions to turn the room into a collection space for donated canned goods. So if you’re coming to Homearama, feel free to bring a canned good or two to benefit FeedMore (it’s our region’s hunger-relief charity organization). And if you don’t want to lug cans in your purse through the homes, you can also drop your donations off at the show’s front entrance / ticket counter.

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One of the Most Beautiful DIY Bathroom Renovation

As part of the spring 2015 One Room Design Challenge—a biannual blogger event organized by the blog Calling it Home—20 bloggers accepted the challenge of completely making over a single space in their homes in under six weeks.

Blogger and designer Jenna Sue, of Jenna Sue Design Co., opted to take on the daunting challenge of renovating her circa 1970s guest bathroom for the project.

Here’s Jenna Sue’s guest bathroom before the renovation:

Wanting to say goodbye to this “dark and cramped yellow time capsule,” Jenna Sue’s goal was to create a bathroom that reflected her signature cozy-yet-rustic style, but that also had a few adventurous design elements, like patterned tiles and mixed metal fixtures. “I am more proud of this renovation than anything I’ve ever taken on,” Jenna Sue writes on her blog.

Here’s what Jenna Sue’s guest bathroom looked like at the end of the six-week challenge:

Below, a few of the smart design lessons we learned from Jenna Sue’s stunning bathroom makeover:

1. Go ahead and blend different design styles, as long as there’s an element that ties it all together.

Jenna Sue decided to stray from her go-to modern farmhouse look, because she figured “if I’m going to experiment, why not in a guest bathroom?” While the resulting space blends bold patterned tiles and mixed metals in a tiny space, the rustic wood elements and muted color palette offer a sense of cohesiveness.

2. Don’t be afraid to customize with paint.

Instead of opting for a pricier custom tub, Jenna Sue purchased a basic white porcelain and cast iron claw foot tub to replace the bathroom’s golden yellow fibreglass tub-shower combo. She then painted it a warm gray color to achieve the look she was aiming for, and added special lime paint and lime wax for some DIY patina. She also spray painted the claw feet black to save some more cash.

3. You can never go wrong with a few reclaimed wood DIYs.

“Natural wood is a requirement for me in every space I design—it brings a warmth, timeless and casual feel to a room that can’t be replicated by anything else,” writes Jenna Sue. Not to mention, it’s also inexpensive and easy to work with! Jenna Sue made the valance over the shower area in under 30 minutes using a jigsaw and reclaimed wood left over from another project.

She also made this reclaimed wood ladder as a way to utilize the space over the toilet for extra storage. “This ladder was a super quick and easy DIY and cost just a few dollars,” writes Jenna Sue. “Rather than buy a towel holder and add more holes in the wall, I simply draped a hand towel over the ladder rung and placed it within easy reach of the sink for guests.”

Get Jenna Sue’s DIY tutorials for these rustic wood projects.

4. Installing DIY wood plank walls can be easier (and cheaper) than you think.

“Instead of the thick tongue and groove pine boards we used throughout most of the house, I decided to go with a different look—something much more inexpensive, readily available and easy to work with—plywood,” writes Jenna Sue, who bought five 4×8-foot sheets at Lowe’s and ripped them down to 8-inch strips on a table saw.

Get Jenna Sue’s tips for creating a DIY wood plank wall.

5. Never underestimate the power of Craigslist.

The bathroom’s beautiful vanity is actually a vintage buffet that Jenna Sue found on Craigslist, which she refinished and repurposed by adding a Wayfair sink and an eBay faucet. Get our insider tips for shopping smarter on Craigslist and eBay.

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Bathroom Renovation

I think this bathroom renovation from Omar De Pablo will appeal to many people, not only because of the beautiful peacock blue he’s chosen, but also because he’s managed to totally transform the look of this bathroom (including hardwood flooring!) on a remarkably low budget. Part of his secret was doing the bulk of the work himself, especially renovating the built-in cabinetry, but he also wisely decided to source many of the fixtures and wood locally to keep costs low. Nicely done, Omar! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Time: a little over 24 hours

Cost: around $200

Basic Steps: I lifted the vanity off the ground and gave it legs and used recycled wood and beadboard wallpaper to create raised door panels from the flat Formica doors. I removed the Formica counter top and used recycled wood from a closed local restaurant, then closed out the medicine cabinet and used recycled molding. Both sinks were recycled from someone’s back yard. I gave texture to the upper portion of the walls (Spanish lace) and applied beadboard wallpaper to the bottom half. The large eight-foot-long mirror was left in place and divided by the same recycled wood shelf and framed out to look like two separate mirrors. I removed the soffit fluorescent lights and rewired for two separate fixtures. The ladder was made from recycled ballet bars and wood from a closed dance studio.

My advice: Ha, get help! I tried to do everything myself on a deadline and almost didn’t meet it. Also be prepared for changes along the way. When repurposing and doing a DIY job, things don’t always turn out the way you envisioned. I learned lots of patience on this project. Also keep your receipts. You tend to buy lots of one thing and much of others you won’t end up using. Although Lowe’s and Home Depot have good records, it’s important to keep the receipts to avoid store credit and additional hassles. And overall, BE PATIENT! The pieces will come together. — Omar

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